Are You Find-able Online?

Maximize your online presence

An out-of-the blue email prompted me to consider how easy it is to re-connect with someone and what another person might find out about me online.

A long-lost acquaintance emailed me the same day my name, quote and photo were published in The New York Times. When I asked how she was able to get in touch with me, she responded that she conducted a search online and found my company website, which displays my email address (and phone number).

What about YOU?

Take five minutes NOW to conduct an Internet search of your own name. Your objective is to see which websites and social networks are listed in the search and make sure you appropriately connect those listings to your company’s or nonprofit’s website.

Start the search with, followed by and then; that adds up to 87.5% of global searches. (The remainder is Baidu at 10.2%, which is used in China, plus some minuscule search engines.)

Your LinkedIn profile probably appears first among the results. With its international database of 364 million members, LinkedIn outranks most websites.

Perhaps next on the list are your Twitter and Facebook accounts; their enormous constituencies boost their rankings as well.

If you own a business or lead a nonprofit, a reference to your company’s or organization’s website might follow mention(s) of your name.

These personal profiles clearly list and link to your company or nonprofit’s website, of course. If they don’t, link them now.

Here are two ways to update your Personal LinkedIn Page:

Customize your LinkedIn Name/URL.
On your LinkedIn page, go to Profile and click Edit profile.
Under your photo, you have the link:
Click on Edit.
Now you are in the panel where YOU control WHAT is VISIBLE in your profile.
Before you do anything with that section, look to the right and go to Your public profile URL.
Click on Customize your public profile URL.
Now you can type your name XXXX without the number /1/234/56 gobbledy gook that LinkedIn automatically assigns.
If there is a duplicate of your name in LinkedIn, you can use a hyphen or an underscore between your first and last names to differentiate yourself.
Then click Set Custom URL. You’re done !

Post your company website — and related resources.
On your LinkedIn page, go to Profile and click Edit profile.
In the lower right corner of the box, click on the Rolodex card labeled Contact Info.
Next to Twitter, click on the pencil and add your Twitter account.
Next to Website, click on the pencil and select the category Other. Then enter the name (or description) of your company and link to the homepage URL.
You may add two additional websites; I selected the category Other to post Public Relations Tips and link to the Newsletter section of my website, plus Articles on Public Relations with a link to the Publication section.

This is also the place to post the name of your blog (category: Other) and link to it.
(Note: most people do not take advantage of this promotional space; if they do, they use the default setting of Company website and Blog, which is not particularly informative.)
Then click Save.

It’s time to make yourself more find-able and more compelling online. Start by calling me at 212-677-5770 or emailing me at

Playing Politics. Telling Your Story.

Make sure elected officials know how you contribute to your community.

Nonprofits and small businesses can improve their visibility in the community by establishing a connection with local elected officials and telling their story.

Once these politicians are acquainted with you, they’re able to advocate for you and help you secure funding or assistance. But they can only do so if they know who you are.

Your goal might be requesting or keeping discretionary funds allocated by a city councilmember or state legislator, being invited to participate in community projects or gaining access to information and in-kind resources, such as staff training. Clearly, it’s vital to be on a first-name basis with the elected officials who serve your neighborhood — and especially with their staff.

On Memorial Day Weekend, East Harlem Block Nursery hosted a block party and celebration of its 50th anniversary. Government leaders from the state, city and community were invited to mark the occasion.

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and State Senator Bill Perkins joined in the celebration. Each spoke to the attendees and read a congratulatory proclamation. In addition, Mayor Bill de Blasio sent greetings and a representative of Comptroller Scott Stringer presented a commendation. And, an aide of Public Advocate Letitia James and an administrator from the Department of Education also attended.

In sum, four of the top four leaders of New York City and Manhattan (and their respective staffs) were apprised of the existence and success of this nonprofit, and its remarkable 50-year track record.

Here are photos of the politicians and aides who participated in the momentous day.

The opportunity for the Executive Director, teachers, parents and students to speak with these officials and administrators, plus give them a personal tour of the school, was invaluable. In this first year of New York City’s Universal Pre-Kindergarten, funding for the program at the nursery is precarious, so building relationships with various arms of city government is a priority.

The fact that several officials sent their aides was not necessarily a disappointment. These public servants are likely to run for office themselves someday, so it makes sense to start connecting with them now. As an example, New York City Councilmember Vincent Ignizio, who once was an aide representing a Staten Island councilmember at an event, was later elected to serve that very district. From staffer to elected official — a lesson to remember.

Are your local officials acquainted with your business or nonprofit group? Let’s consider how best to introduce you and get the attention of the appropriate elected leaders. Call me at 212-677-5770 or email me at

Save Time. Save Money. Make More Money.

It’s not about you, but what you can do for them.

Recently, a nonprofit professional at a workshop on media relations posed this question: “How can I get a reporter to write a feature article about our group?”

My reply was, “Why should anyone else care about what your organization does? Let’s find something about your nonprofit that will capture an outsider’s attention and be newsworthy to the media.”

Consider: how does your organization, product or service help others to:

  • Save Time
  • Save Money or
  • Make More Money

This perspective on time and money works on two levels. First, daily, we look to save our personal time and money: a magazine subscription is cheaper than buying each issue from a newsstand; plus, a copy is delivered to the home, so we subscribe, never missing an issue.

Second, society seeks to save its time and taxpayers’ money: smart nonprofits (and companies) provide products and services that can produce savings for one individual and for many people.

In applying this newfound perspective, another workshop attendee spoke about Worksites for Wellness. The group advocates that companies provide rooms on the premises where female employees can privately nurse their infants or pump milk; the breast milk is refrigerated for a few hours, and then given to the child later.

Nursing mothers care about this issue, of course. Who else might support the group? And why should they care?

Look at how a lactation room saves time and money: Women employees are more productive when they can feed their babies or pump milk onsite. Their children are healthier, because they absorb the mother’s antibodies and resist bacteria and viruses. Consequently, these mothers take fewer days off to care for sick infants.

In sum, employers make more money. Someone who is not a nursing mother can recognize the upside and appeal of granting women privacy for an hour or so per day during a few months. Doing so, the company (and society) reaps the benefit of a more productive and loyal employee who is not distracted on the job or absent caring for a baby with a cold.

How does the save time, save money paradigm apply to your business or nonprofit? Let’s brainstorm together. Call me at 212-677-5770 or email me at

Why Your TV News Interview Never Aired

Sometimes stations butcher a news story.

In industry lingo, the news story was bumped, cut or killed.

Those are the terms that reporters (and Public Relations professionals) use to describe the assault on the fruits of their labors.

Typically, a television reporter visits an event, conducts an interview with the principal organizer of the program and talks with the engaged participants. She then gathers her notes and summarizes the activities on camera, weaving facts into the reason for the day’s event and the implications for the future.

Unless high priority or breaking news suddenly arises.

The evening news is like serving a pie to a large family; it has to be divided so that everyone gets a slice. With national, local and world news, plus sports, weather and scheduled features, some slices will be bigger than others.

Invariably, breaking news grabs the largest slice and the planned news stories are subject to:

  • Bump: the interview does not even take place;
  • Cut: the segment is abbreviated and relevant footage is not broadcast;
  • Kill: the story never gets aired.

War, fire, stock market gyration or a politician’s exploits may wreak havoc on the interview carefully planned by a Public Relations professional.

Recently, a report of an event was broadcast without an interview that had taken place on location with program staff of the New York Foundation for Eldercare. The segment was cut short by news coverage of an airplane crash.

When that happens to your interview or segment — and it will happen someday — make the most of the coverage that you did receive by sharing the news story wherever possible, including Twitter, your website and your newsletter.

Let’s consider how to promote your TV news coverage, even if the interview was left on the cutting room floor. Contact me at 212-677-5770 or email

The Three R’s of Crisis Communication

Plan ahead, because when a crisis arises, there’s no time for planning.

A broken or malfunctioning product.

Poor judgment.

Lapse in supervision.

A crisis may take many forms; the appropriate communications response generally follows this format: Regret, Recompense, Reform.

Known as the Three R’s, and similar to the education basics of Reading, (w)Riting and (a)Rithmetic, this approach to communication in a tense moment provides guidance and reassurance to management (and employees) when facing hurt and angry customers, accusatory press and the prospect of regulatory investigation.

At the earliest opportunity in the crisis moment, prepare a statement that addresses the situation and incorporates the following, to the extent that the underlying facts are available:

Regret: Apologize, simply and directly, to those affected, their families and the community. We are very sorry that this occurred and extend our sympathies to those who were hurt by ____ (the accident).

Recompense: Indicate that a replacement, coupon or other object of comparable tangible value will be issued to replace the damaged item. Customers whose packaged meatballs have the product code 49B7 should return them to the store where they were purchased for another package or a full refund.

Reform: In anticipation of a possible crisis, you may have contracted a consultant of impeccable reputation. State, by name if possible, that this consultant has been hired to investigate the circumstances and recommend steps that will immediately be implemented to ensure that the situation will not recur. We have hired Company X to review the situation and, based on that analysis and recommended procedures, we will implement changes and do our very best to make sure that this incident will never, ever happen again. 

Using this formula, consider the most likely scenarios: tainted product, breach of computer security, employee malfeasance, accident and loss of life, among others. Like the fire drill required to be held in your office building, conduct a simulation at least quarterly.

Are you ready for a moment in the spotlight, with customers and reporters shouting accusations at your company or organization? Let’s prepare now and trust that your practice session is never played out before a live audience. Contact me at 212-677-5770 or email

Why You? Why Now?

How to introduce yourself to reporters.

You probably recognize that reporters call people they know. They are less likely to call someone they have not heard of.

Reporters are professional skeptics. They will always ask two questions:

Why YOU? What makes you a credible and authoritative source?

Why NOW? You didn’t contact the journalist last week or last month. What is the reason anyone should pay attention to you now?

Here’s how to write an Executive Media Profile that answers these questions and establishes the same level of credibility as the competitor quoted last week.

1. In a five-line paragraph, summarize your areas of expertise. Select a few themes of interest to those who regularly seek your advice or services. This is not an extensive bio that lists your degrees and former job titles.

2. Make a list of three to five hot topics. Reporters focus on issues that affect readers and their businesses. In the best case, there is a clear bottom-line impact. Perhaps there is a change in the law or an industry regulation or a shift in consumer preference. Show your expertise and anticipate how this affects sales, operations and the market sector.

3. Use a bullet point format. Simply list the topics; do not use sentences and paragraphs. You’ll have time to elaborate on your ideas in a future conversation and interview.
4. Identify the publications read by your target market. Selectively contact the journalists who cover topics like yours with an email that answers the two questions: Why You and Why Now. Start by demonstrating you are familiar with their work: Your coverage of the ___ market prompted me to contact you and briefly share some thoughts on trends.

5. Follow-up with a call a week later. Reporters are as busy as yourself, so you’ll probably leave a phone message. Consider this a one-two punch and a foray into new territory. As Babe Ruth said, “Every strike brings me closer to my next home run.”

By establishing yourself as an authoritative and credible source, and by highlighting timely issues that readers need to focus on, you will place yourself in the reporter’s database for future reference, or even on a to-do list for a call today.

Ready to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard? For a sample Executive Media Profile to help you get started, contact me at 212-677-5770 or email

Do The Right Thing

What goes around, comes around.

Some say Pay it Forward.

Others say Create good karma.

It’s a professional responsibility, for me, to be alert to news opportunities — even for former clients.

When Staten Island Legal Services (SILS) held a fundraising luncheon in April 2014, in part to mark its 10th anniversary, I spoke with the reporter from The New York Law Journal whom I had invited to cover the event. She asked to be notified of any celebration on the actual anniversary date, which was December 8. The project ended soon after the luncheon, and SILS and I amicably parted company.

Early in December, at my suggestion, SILS Executive Director Nancy Goldhill contacted the reporter and secured an interview. Goldhill used the opportunity to cite impressive statistics of the thousands of people whose cases SILS had handled over the years: families recovering property damage from Hurricane Sandy, victims of domestic violence, homeowners avoiding foreclosure and immigrants securing legal status.

Success! The news story in The New York Law Journal highlighted SILS and its 10-year track record. It even re-published a photo of Goldhill and the honorees from the April luncheon.

This article put SILS in front of New York attorneys, a key audience of current and potential supporters — thanks to my reminder to this former client.

You can join me and start (or renew) the habit to do a good turn, make a referral and introduce two acquaintances. Do it often and do it selflessly, with no thought of recompense.

Please let me know the unsought favor you’ve done by contacting me at 212-677-5770 or email They say I get half-credit for an assist in good karma.

Networking Towards the King

One Degree of Separation from the King of Spain

Everyone knows someone worth knowing.

It’s true. I know someone who was in daily contact with a future king.

Years ago, Maria, a teacher at the Madrid, Spain elementary school the young prince attended, placed a newspaper ad for a roommate and I needed a place to live. Voila! Today, she would have used Craigslist or another online networking site that helps people with shared interests and needs make connections.

The Executive Director of a nonprofit where I performed pro bono work introduced me to a colleague, Greg Cohen of Cause Effective, who advises nonprofits on strengthening communities and fundraising. He later referred me to his contact, Nancy Goldhill; he thought my experience working with attorneys and my knowledge of Staten Island, where I had worked in Public Relations, would be helpful to draft a newsletter for Staten Island Legal Services (SILS).That project bloomed into media outreach and news coverage for the SILS fundraising luncheon.

Networking does work, when you work with it. If the traditional networking at events does not appeal to you, review these tips. Also, try reaching out to connections in the virtual sphere. Whether in person or online, networking may not lead directly to someone you want to meet. It does, however, put you closer to their circle of contacts and referrals.

Consider your own many connections and who might stand in their circles. Because you know me, you’re already only two steps away from el Rey Felipe VI; you’re also one step from a technology start-up’s CEO and from a musician who plays viola da gamba.

Together, let’s brainstorm how to reach out to someone who knows someone who knows that person. Call me at 212-677-5770 or email to bring yourself one contact closer to that potential connection.

How Derek Jeter Managed the Media

Learn from Derek Jeter

To Answer — or Not to Answer.

How about a lesson in dealing with the media from Derek Jeter? The former athlete survived intense attention in the cut-throat baseball industry and with a company constantly in the spotlight.

“I learned early on in New York, the toughest media environment in sports, that just because a reporter asks you a question doesn’t mean you have to answer.” Derek Jeter

You, too, may face a tough question from a reporter. A journalist might ask you a leading question, in an effort to prompt you to repeat some colorful  — and potentially damaging — words in the question.

Here are four ways you can be like Jeter in your response:

When a reporter tries to put words in your mouth, close your lips and swallow. Take the time you need to come up with a reply.

Just say no. Don’t answer the question altogether. Ignore it. Move on to the next question.

Answer the question you want to answer. Say, “That’s a good question and we are here to talk about the price of popcorn,” or whatever you want to speak about.

Respond and give an answer that is not quotable or newsworthy.

You can receive more tips on media interviews by replying to this newsletter. These pointers will help you keep your eye on the ball when you get a nice or nasty question thrown at you.

When you’re ready, contact me at 212-677-5770 or to practice hitting the question out of the park.

Your News Article is Just the Beginning

Capitalize on the moment.

Consider this: a trade newsletter publishes a rave article about your business or organization, like this one.

Congrats! Keep the momentum going by amplifying readership and thought leadership through one or several of the following suggestions, arranged from easiest to most time-intensive:

  • Create a few bitly links; shorten the article’s long URL, so that you can identify how many people clicked on each link to read the article and where they found it.
  • In your email signature, provocatively summarize an essential point made in the article and embed a link.

   Janet Falk
Are Communications an Investment or Expense?

  • Using a different bitly link, post in the update box of your LinkedIn profile; it will be broadcast to all your connections. Ask a question in your LinkedIn groups to spark debate or provide a solution to a recurring problem for customers. (The less self-serving the better.)
  • Summarize the article as a question to which your insights are an answer or case study, and mention it on Twitter, with yet a third bitly link.
  • If you maintain a company or nonprofit page on Facebook, post a link to the article there.
  • After you secure permission from the publication, which may charge you a fee, print the article as a PDF. Now upload the PDF to your website and post a link to it on the home page (for the next month or until it becomes outdated), as well as in the news section, and wherever else on the website might be appropriate.
  • Use the article as a calling card to introduce yourself to other reporters. Now that you are recognized as an authority, share your expertise and offer an update. Mention some ideas that were not discussed in the article, and are particularly relevant to this publication’s audience. Suggest another, related topic where you can offer insight.
  • If you often read and comment on industry blogs, reach out to those bloggers; present yourself as a guest writer or suggest an interview.
  • As a member of a business, industry or professional organization, get in touch with the chair of the Education or Program Committee. Propose that you and a client speak as panelists at a meeting to explore this topic in more depth, with examples and lessons learned.
  • Contact the editors of industry and membership association newsletters and offer to revise the article’s themes as a case study for colleagues.

You worked hard to get that news article; now make it work for you!

When you want to increase the impact of your media coverage, let’s review the best ways to build on its reach. Contact me at 212-677-5770 or

Is Your Website Up to Date?

If your website predates 2011,

then plan for a re-launch.

According to designer Peter Levinson, websites have a three-year design cycle, after which their designs look dated.

Having launched my website in 2009, I realized an update was long overdue.

But what finally prompted the re-launch was, admittedly, peer pressure. Other websites use a WordPress format. The clean minimal look, with lots of white space, apparently has become the standard since 2011.

Another concern was to respond to visitor behavior, based on best practices. And the website analytics for my site also played a role in the re-design.

Online activity has grown exponentially and users’ expectations are high. Creating a clear layout that would be user-friendly and conform to the market was a priority.

Once the process was underway, it became appropriate to update the content. Editing the paragraphs succinctly, as well as incorporating more recent projects and successes, were the next steps.

Finally, the re-designed website assembled multiple guest blog posts and newsletter articles that were dispersed widely.

You are invited to take a look and let me know what you think of the re-design.

If it’s been a few years since your website was launched or revised, sit up and see the site through a first-time visitor’s eyes. Let’s consider the content and layout that might best serve your goals and engage your audience by means of a website audit. Contact me at 212-677-5770 or

The Tao of How

A three-way discussion brings the mission to life.

How might day-in, day-out routine work command reporter interest? By focusing on the HOW.

Start-up company ULTRA Testing  provides quality assurance testing to the digital media sector, a labor-intensive process essential to the launch of every website, software program and app.

The company has a mission to employ testers who are high-functioning individuals on the Autism Spectrum. Their heightened abilities are an exact match for software testing — off-the-charts pattern recognition, attention to detail and tolerance for repetition.

This is an example of when the HOW — the tapping of a unique talent pool — makes a business a potential news story.

After I arranged for a reporter to speak with the founder about the company and its mission, I introduced an employee and a client to round out the story.

This was not the usual company and client case study I’ve described before. The participation of the tester was key to the success of this article, because the mission of the start-up is the employment of exceptional people.

Is it your HOW that makes your company or nonprofit distinctive? Let’s talk about ways to position your mission to attract reporter interest. Contact me at 212-677-5770 or

It Takes Two: You and a Client

Let your clients do the talking.

Naming and defining a problem unseen by potential clients  — plus offering a solution — can be a powerful component of your Communications Plan.

Create an AHA moment by featuring a successful client engagement in your outreach. An example of your actual services and expertise is far more effective than hyperbole and self-promotion.

When pitching a story idea to reporters, I included two mini case studies of customers who had used the services of my client Independent Merchant Group (IMG) to audit — and then reduce — their credit card transaction processing fees and charges.

When hotel management professionals read the resulting articles in Hotel Online and Hotel News Now, they learned how other hotels saved thousands of dollars annually by lowering their credit card transaction processing fees. These prospects recognized the possibility of fee reductions for their own locations.

More than 800 hotel CFOs and finance professionals, from regional hotel chains and boutique properties, called IMG to learn more about this service.

You have customers who will attest to your terrific service or product. Let’s find a way for your clients to talk for you and about you. Contact me at 212-677-5770 or

Count on — Don’t Discount — the Intern Reporter

Make sure your pitch gets seen.

After identifying target publications for a new client, it was time to search the website of each newspaper and news service to locate recent stories on a niche topic and contact the most appropriate reporters.

Bingo! A weekly had covered a related angle six months ago. That good news was tempered by the realization that the author was not on staff, with an email on the masthead, nor a freelancer listed in a media database. He was an intern.

The problem: How to reach out, capture the intern/reporter’s interest and move the idea for news coverage forward?

His unusual name made it easy to locate the intern’s Twitter account. A message referencing the prior article, and an offer of an alternative view of that subject, prompted an email reply.

My response, with the pitch sent to reporters at the other target publications, was copied to the News Desk. After all, the intern would not be granted authority to pursue the story without an editor’s okay, so this note would catch the editor’s eye.

It worked; all went according to plan. A staff reporter contacted me regarding the pitch forwarded by the News Desk’s editor. After that conversation, I sent additional background and introduced an attorney as the source for more details. An interview followed and here’s the resulting article.

Let’s find ways to put your name in front of more reporters, freelancers and media interns. Contact me at 212-677-5770 or

Get Local Media Coverage, Even When You Are Not Local

Tailor the news angle for success.

How might a national organization or out-of-town company gain media favor with the hometown news?

Grow instant local roots. Show area reporters the relevance of your national campaign to their audience or share a local affiliation with your out-of-town operations.

Here are three examples where the local hook to a pitch caught the reporter’s eye — at a daily newspaper, a community-based weekly and a radio show.

A reporter from the Bangor Daily News was already planning to attend the Homegrown Maine trade show with 75 vendors in the medical marijuana market.

How did the New York-based website create a local presence? Its database includes doctors from Maine, prompting the reporter to request more details about the website.

On behalf of the New Jersey-based Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation’s national fundraising campaign, a volunteer in suburban Detroit spoke to a local reporter. The profile prompted additional donations to the cause.

On radio station WHNZ in Tampa, the Triple Negative Breast Cancer interviewee highlighted the six fundraisers held across the state of Florida.

Are you interested in generating local media attention to expand your geographic reach?

Let’s build a local presence worth talking about. Contact me at 212-677-5770 or

No Photos, Please

Consider the downside of a photo in a news story.

Getting a company name or a cause in the news isn’t the goal. Indeed, having targeted audiences take action because they read about you is the name of the game.

The law firm Katz Melinger filed a sexual harassment case; the defendants included a top-rated cable television show, its production company and the network on which the show aired.

A summary press release was distributed, with a link to a pdf of the case filed in court. As expected, the celebrity news website TMZ jumped on the case and quoted some salacious details, prompting the show’s fans to post comments that degraded the client’s character.

In preparing their coverage of the case, two local newspapers contacted the law firm seeking photographs of the client. How would these requests be handled?

After writing about the photo that attracted 3,000 visitors, it might be surprising that my counsel was to not provide photos. Once the client’s image became accessible online, it could be manipulated in ways that could be personally demeaning and not helpful to the case. No photos were sent to the newspapers and the stories were published without them.

Simultaneously, Broadcasting & Cable reported the case objectively. Perhaps this article was more damaging, from the defendants’ perspective, than the gossip-style news stories. Advertisers are often skittish about adverse publicity that might affect them also, and networks assiduously keep their advertisers happy.

As a result of the media coverage, an attorney for a defendant contacted the law firm the same afternoon. That one phone call was the goal of the media outreach — and it was achieved without a photo.

Are you focused on the end game of driving target audiences to your phone or website, rather than media coverage for its own sake? Let’s address the upside and downside of sharing your story and photos — consistent with your business strategy.

Contact me at 212-677-5770 or

PS As for The New York Daily News and The New York Post, they easily located other photos and images to round out their articles.

Is the NY Times the Best Media Outlet for Your Story?

Another media outlet may have more impact.

Consider: A company in a niche healthcare field was preparing to announce the first-ever broadcast of a TV commercial on cable networks.

By offering an exclusive story to a reporter on the media beat at Ad Age, who had written on a related subject, I secured top-tier industry coverage.

Plus, because of this extensive online platform, the article would link to the one-minute commercial on the company website, adding to the impact.

The news story was published on (and its sister website; the press release was distributed, and the news spread like wildfire on Twitter and Digg. This activity led to follow-on stories on other online outlets: Gawker, The New York Business Journal, Huffington Post and USA Today, as well as news websites in Mexico and France.

As a result, there were more than 92,000 views of the video advertisement on the website in four days.

When the commercial aired, the phones rang nonstop.

Sometimes the conventional newspapers (The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal) are the most appropriate; when they are not, other venues can be highly effective in telling your story.

After you’ve seen the ad, you’ll get an idea of how sensational news might have to be to merit coverage in the NYT or WSJ, as noted by communications expert Sandra Holtzman.

Have you some vital news to share and need to identify the right publication and reporter? Let’s review the angles and the outlets that make the most sense to promote your story.

Contact me at 212-677-5770 or

Build in Post-Marketing Success

Nine tactics to get more mileage and impact.

You’ve written a thought piece or client update; what should you do next?

Actually, you might have asked this question before you put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard.

You can easily produce content marketing, client updates and communiqués that are geared to post-marketing purposes, including media outreach. Consider implementing these nine suggestions to make your write-ups more actionable and quotable early in the creative process, as detailed in Maximize Client Alerts in the newsletter Marketing the Law Firm (February 2014).

At the moment of drafting the client update or alert, use an acronym, alliteration, rhyme or reference to pop culture to make the message more quotable. This phrase will resonate to current and potential clients receiving your latest insight and also to reporters to whom you as author are introduced as an expert source.

Similarly, a visual image or an analogy can help illustrate a technical point and more memorably reinforce it than a straight-forward, text-only statement.

Care to see more examples of how to build in post-marketing as you develop content? Read the article here.

Let’s talk soon about how to make your client updates more quotable, memorable and actionable, to truly maximize their impact.

Contact me at 212-677-5770 or

Do You Track Communications as an Investment or Expense?

How do you categorize your Communications costs?

At a certain bank, opening a new account in the system requires an input: How did you hear about us?

This is a company that calculates its Public Relations, Marketing and Communications dollars as an investment, and not an expense, unlike others.

By tracking the HOW question over time, and in six locations, the bank fine tunes its activity in SEO, media outreach, outdoor advertising and other platforms.

A marketing investment is any expenditure that creates tools that drive value and impact sales, even after the cost to create the tool is spent. Examples are websites, media relations, videos and social media engagement, to name a few. These marketing investments yield a long-term ROI, greater than any one-time ad.

Communications activity is magnified and extended in the digital arena:

  • Print news articles are accessible online, sometimes with extra visual and audio content, with no expiration date.
  • Client newsletters, blogs and product literature PDFs form part of the main website.
  • Twitter activity and Facebook posts by customers, staff and observers are always available.

Even when prospects hear about your company from a news story, a commercial or a referral by a colleague, they probably will conduct some research online — to confirm the basics of location, products and price range or to obtain more specific information on features, customer reviews and comparable products.

Invest in Communications and Marketing and you meet these prospects more than halfway. Your digital tools and materials await discovery; they live indefinitely, well beyond their initial cost, yielding the highest ROI.

Are you prepared to invest in Communications to attract more customers and supporters? Let’s talk about allocating your budget to maximize the Return on Investment.

Contact me at 212-677-5770 or

Tell the Media — What Lies Ahead for 2014

Your Outlook for 2014

Look in your crystal ball and tell the media what you see.

Everyone has an eye on the end of 2013 and wonders what 2014 will bring.

Think about the trends you’re anticipating in your industry or sector.

  • Who’s growing — and how?
  • Will the pace of consolidation continue, slow down or accelerate?
  • What is the forecast for demand for services?

You don’t have to go out on a limb. Simply consider:

  • what might happen;
  • why multiple factors will lead to the change ahead;
  • how it will affect market participants or clients.

Then, introduce yourself and your predictions to reporters and editors at relevant publications before December 11, to beat the publication’s deadline for year-end articles.

This was my plan of attack: Working with an attorney specializing in biotech, I emailed and called reporters, introducing him as source with insight into the IPO market.

A reporter at The Wall Street Journal exclaimed, “I need to talk to him; I was just assigned this story!” Naturally, I arranged the interview for that afternoon, resulting in a substantial quote in this article.

You can go wild with your outlook, or be reasonable, as long as your view has actionable and quotable insights.

Eleven months later, no one will remember how closely your predictions hit the mark. And you’ll have new ones for 2015.

Is your crystal ball showing the future clearly ? Let’s brainstorm how you can authoritatively share your views.

Contact me at 212-677-5770 or

How Your Photo Can Attract 3,000 People

Photos Attract Prospects and Visitors

Every Picture Tells A Story.

People respond more strongly to websites and brochures with photos. “Our brains process visuals faster, and we are more engaged when we see faces,” according to the Media Psychology Research Center.

Here’s how to get started:

Show customers using the product in an eye-catching shot. People actively engaged with your product — holding it, eating it — are a powerful endorsement. Who enters a restaurant with empty tables?

Have an employee speak with a client (or stand-in) for a photo. Add a caption that cites the impact of an intangible service: it saves time, saves money or generates an uptick in sales.

Put people in the scene. Visitors at parks point admiringly at the view and museum-goers enjoy the exhibition.

Potential attendees will project themselves into the photo. If a couple is shown pushing a baby in a stroller on a paved garden path, a prospective visitor will consider visiting with a parent who uses a wheelchair.

Share the photo with the press. The reporter will quickly grasp the excitement of an event or the beauty of a location and its appeal to readers and viewers.

Having a photo in hand makes it easy for the editor to include it in the article, without sending a staff photographer to your premises.

Because a digital camera costs only $100, every business and nonprofit group should purchase one and keep it handy. Snap away to capture satisfied clients, visits by dignitaries, activities in progress, special occasions and more.

Ready to stage your story-telling photo? Let’s talk about who and what might best promote your business in a photograph.

Contact me at 212-677-5770 or

PS Here is the photo that attracted 3,000 visitors to the Cherry Blossom Festival on Roosevelt Island.

Make Your Season’s Greetings Card Memorable

It’s the Most Wonderful Time
of the Year

Time to Send a Holiday Card.

You send a greeting card in December to clients, vendors, supporters, colleagues, VIPs and others.

Is your card having maximum impact?

Would the recipient notice if the sender was changed to Megabucks, Inc. or United Nonprofits?

Plan now to send a holiday greeting card that reinforces the brand and qualities that make your group distinctive.

Find a visual, design an image or take a photo that captures what is unique about your company or organization. Ideally, no one else could appropriate that creation and call it their own.

Use that image as the centerpiece of your holiday greeting, whether a printed card or an email message.

In January, when your recipient removes all the holiday cards taped to the office door, you can imagine her saying, “This is the card from the folks at DEF,” without opening the card to confirm the sender.

Or you may get an immediate email reply, in thankful appreciation of your distinctive note.

As a writer, I send an email with a Holiday Haiku. Most recipients recognize the difficulty of composing a 17-syllable seasonal poem and they remember reading it.

May I offer you some help creating a memorable visual or message for your holiday card, or your own haiku? Let’s brainstorm some ideas that align with your group and your successes.

Contact me at 212-677-5770 or

Back to School — As a Teacher

Showcase Your Insights.

September = School, for students, teachers and parents.

Executives in business and nonprofits need to keep current with best practices and new developments, so they also go to class.

Consider how you might share your expertise with contacts, clients and prospects in one or more of these venues:

Networking group: Some groups incorporate a 10-minute pitch by members into their regular meetings. Your networking contacts will feel more at ease referring their favorite clients to you after they see you in action and hear the impact of your products and services.

Give a guest lecture at a contact’s course: Someone you know may teach a continuing education class. Offer to give insights from the field in a 20-minute presentation.

Center for management training: Peruse the quarterly calendar of workshops and then propose an interdisciplinary session for their target market. By straddling two content areas, you create a niche.

Small business center and economic development group: Government agencies at the municipal and state level offer a variety of business management classes to support small and medium-sized enterprises. These businesses may soon grow big enough to need your services as a consultant.

Webinar: There are companies whose sole line of business is to host webinars for speakers to give sessions and promote their businesses. If you’re shy about facing a room full of new faces, you might prefer the digital broadcast space.

You may join me at Managing PR and Communications on Top of Everything Else, on Thursday, September 19 at 9:30 am at The Support Center for Nonprofit Management in New York City.

Or tell another contact.

You will not be quizzed afterwards.

Have you got a timely subject for a class or workshop? Let’s consider where you might teach a session and promote your business.

Contact me at 212-677-5770 or

Drive More Traffic to Your Website — Without a Blog

No Blog?
No Problem!

You can write as a Guest Blogger.

Companies that frequently post on a blog attract as many as five times more visitors to their websites than companies that do not blog.

If you do not have a blog, you still can participate in the blogo-sphere: become a guest blogger.

Do the blogs you read publish work by others? If so, as appropriate, introduce yourself to the blogger/host and offer to write a guest blog post.

After the post is published, create a short bitly link to distribute your idea in the social media universe in the format of a question via the LinkedIn Groups to which you belong, with a summary answer and a link to your blog post. The topic may generate some comments — as well as drive traffic to your website, where readers can learn more about you.

I submitted a guest blog post, When Nonprofits Fail to Communicate, to a colleague and then shared it on Twitter and LinkedIn. The editor of an online publication read it; she not only asked permission to re-publish it on their blog, she invited me to submit my own articles.

Of course, I accepted.

Here’s how you can prepare for your next professional association meeting: Pre-Marketing Can Maximize Your Success at a Networking Event, as published on Philanthropy Journal‘s blog.

Have you got a hot topic to blog about? Let’s consider where you might write a guest blog to get your word out.

Contact me at 212-677-5770 or

Client + You @ Business Meeting = Speaking Success

Team Up for Speaking Success

What better testimonial of your expertise.

You belong to a business or industry professional organization, of course, to network with prospects and keep up-to-date on news and trends.

These monthly meetings offer an incredible opportunity for you — and a client — to showcase your expertise.

That’s why I suggested a client, Denise Shull, as a speaker to 100 Women in Hedge Funds, where I serve on the Communications Committee.

As a panelist, Denise promoted her approach to risk management: understanding feelings, senses and emotions can improve decision-making by hedge fund traders — and by everyone else.

Her anecdotes recounting the impact of self-awareness struck a chord with 200 women executives in the hedge fund industry.

Plus, she sold nine copies of her book Market Mind Games: Profiting from the New Psychology of Risk & Uncertainty.

Are you and a client ready to tell industry colleagues about your productive engagement? Let’s talk about where you might speak up for business growth and success.

Contact me at 212-677-5770 or

Would You Rather Be Lucky or Good – A News Story Replay

News coverage and follow-up beget a replay.

Timing is everything in the marketplace.

After the March product announcement of PeriClean, a toothbrush designed to help people brush smarter for healthier gums, was published in Dental Products Report, the story was not posted in the online publication.

Every week or so, a quick website check, followed by a gentle email and/or phone message to the editor, kept the digital status of the article in play until it finally was published on the website in mid-April.

What a delightful surprise, then, to see the wrap-up of Top 5 new dental products for healthy gums in the online May issue included the PeriClean toothbrush!

Yes, it was lucky that the reporter focused on healthy gums and it was a good effort to have snagged the attention of Dental Products Report in the first place.

Perhaps it was killing the editor with kindness to get the product announcement online that made the replay of the news story happen.

In the trade-off between lucky and good, it’s polite persistence that wins.

You can improve your luck with news coverage simply by being more visible to reporters. Contact me at 212-677-5770 or

Maximizing the BIG Name

Maximize the impact with media coverage in advance.

You’ve worked hard to line up a BIG NAME at a fundraiser, so make the most of their participation — even before the date.

Build attendance by notifying the media a few weeks ahead and provide access to the principals of the event for quotes.

Falk Communications helped Staten Island Legal Services sell tickets to their first-ever fundraiser with articles announcing an award and its presenter in the local and legal press. Of course, after the luncheon, follow-up articles reported the remarks of past New York State Governor Mario Cuomo.

If you’d like to attract more supporters to your fundraising events, and also increase awareness of your group, consider the impact of a BIG NAME in generating media coverage. Contact me at 212-677-5770 or

Client Success Becomes a Case Study and Article

Turn a case study into media, marketing and promotion.

Everyone loves a success story: clients are ecstatic with the outcome, colleagues learn a lesson the easy way and you get the credit.

With the client’s permission, or referring to a generic identity (a cultural institution), draft a skeleton essay. State a theme and list three to five bullet points on the strategy, implementation and results of a recent client project that serves as an example of best practices.

Send this outline in an email to the editor of a relevant trade publication, and ask for the appropriate word count and deadline for an article.

After you’ve gotten the go-ahead, write the article to the required length and include your website URL and phone number in your one-sentence author’s bio.

Falk Communications helped Audrey Winkler of OMG! Organizational Management Group submit an article detailing a successful project. Upon publication, she extended her audience via Twitter and LinkedIn activity, using a link to promote the article and her excellent results.

If you’d like to be recognized for your outstanding client success, I’d love to toot a horn for you. Contact me at 212-677-5770 or

How to Correct a News Article. Yes, You Can!

Correct a News Article’s Error

Ensure the right contact information is in the news.

Falk Communications helps clients get news coverage and, as needed, will ask reporters to fix errors and ensure the details are perfect.

When a trade magazine published an article online with a typo in the client’s email address, it was time for quick action.

In an email thanking the reporter for the great article, based on an interview arranged a week earlier, I highlighted the actual spelling of the email address and politely requested a correction.

While traveling in India, the reporter notified the appropriate colleague and the change was made within 24 hours.

Don’t be afraid to ask for a correction, especially in an easily fixed online format.

This is an example of how Falk Communications will get you in front of reporters and take care of the details – from start to finish. Contact me at 212-677-5770 or

Falk Speaks to NY 1 News

The key to a successful media interview is preparation.

Falk Communications encourages clients to write down three essential points to cover in a news interview.

With a list and examples of the issue, I was ready to speak to NY 1 News.

In the interview, I made sure to stick to those points.

Contact me; I will help you get and prepare for your next press interview.

Trade Magazine and Newsletter Articles Generate 800+ Phone Calls

HotelMore than 80% of hotel revenue is generated by credit card usage each year, so monitoring credit card transaction fees and charges should be a priority for hotel management.

Independent Merchant Group (IMG) reviewed the merchant services statements of two leading hotels and found:

  • unauthorized increases in transaction fees;
  • processing rates and fees that were above-average for the hotel industry;
  • incomplete and confusing terms in the statements.

IMG’s success in auditing the statements and restructuring the credit card processing agreements saved both hotels thousands of dollars; the company continues to monitor the statements to guard against fee changes.

This case study was presented to several hotel industry publications. Three articles on the topic of credit card processing fees generated more than 800 calls from hotel industry professionals. They were eager for IMG to review their credit card processing statements and potentially locate similar savings for them.

If IMG had purchased a list of hotel CFOs and contacted these executives by email and phone, would the company have received a similarly high volume of interest?

Online News Story Sparks Same-Day Settlement Phone Call from Defendant’s Attorney

To achieve progress on a sexual harassment case, the law firm Katz Melinger asked me to prepare a press release about the lawsuit and conduct media outreach. The goal was to put pressure on the attorneys representing the hosts and management of a top-rated cable television show, its production company and the network on which the show aired.

Broadcasting&Cable logoA leading broadcasting industry magazine published an article on its website. Perhaps advertisers, who are often skittish that adverse publicity might affect them also, contacted the network to voice their displeasure with this news.

In less than five hours, the attorney for a defendant contacted Katz Melinger.

Sometimes attorneys in a litigation case need to motivate opposing counsel representing a business. When unfavorable news stories lead that company’s customers to voice their concern and dismay about business practices, it often prompts defense counsel to respond.

TODAY Show Segment Nearly Doubles Website’s Traffic

Today_show_logoWhen a contributor to The TODAY Show mentioned at a social event that an upcoming segment would focus on trends combining gardens and technology, I suggested a website as an example. is a forum and social networking site for gardening enthusiasts to exchange tips, photos and ideas, an unusual combination of gardening and tech. She later interviewed Bryan Powell, founder of the website.

On the day the segment was broadcast, the number of visitors to the website increased 92%, essentially doubled.

Timing is everything. A well-timed pitch, made to a reporter in a casual setting, may lead to a high-profile news story.

Attorney Speaks to CNBC on Presidential Candidate’s Proposal

CNBC_logo.svgPresidential candidate John McCain announced on the morning of June 23, 2008 that he would create a national competition to promote research on alternative automobile batteries.

Attorney James Greenberger had co-chaired a conference on the subject of alternative automobile batteries the month before; I asked him what he thought of McCain’s proposal and the state of industry research.

After quickly developing a snappy pitch, positioning Greenberger as an expert, I contacted auto industry reporters, a group I had not previously targeted. I presented him as a source on the hot topic.

He appeared on CNBC that afternoon.

Watch mid-morning news headlines for topics that related to your industry. Afternoon and evening news reporters may need sources to comment on those stories.


Action-oriented Articles Prompt Smith Barney Clients to Call Financial Advisors

StatementDialogues, a customized newsletter that financial advisors of Smith Barney ordered for their clients, featured four articles on diverse personal financial planning topics. I drafted more than 50 evergreen articles. These basic and timeless introductory nuggets were designed to prompt the reader to call or meet with their financial advisor to discuss the issues, themes and products described. The tone was open, informative and nominally pedagogical. With a maximum length of 195, 325 or 600 words, the financial advisor would mix and match articles selected from the catalog, consistent with the newsletter layout (two short, one medium, one long), either thematically linked (IRA) or on assorted topics (College, Estate, Mortgage).

When technical information needs to be accessible to the reader, especially about personal finance, snappy headlines with eye-catching phrases can make the difference and engage the client.